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  1. #1

    Default Isle Royale Copper Mines

    I've been wanting to hike Isle Royale in search of ancient copper mines. Has anyone hiked there with same interests in the copper mines?

    While doing some research on the subject I came across this site:

    Isle Royale Backpacking
    A Guide for Backpacking on Isle Royale

    http://isleroyalebackpack.com/

    Also, anyone hiked the Keweenaw Peninsula with interests in the mines?

  2. #2
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...e_Superior.jpg


    blow the image up and several pits and mines are clearly marked at both ends of the map.

    bronze01.jpgbronze03.jpgkeep in mind 3000 years of copper people did "scratch the surface" pits and remove much of the valuable nuggets. The mines are part of the Copper conglomerate and from the geological survey are on the east side of the island only.

    Here a fello hiker has a two images of the pits
    http://cruisingonmonarchpart2.blogsp...-national.html




    The island offers approximately 170 miles (270 km) of hiking trails for everything from day hikes to a two-week circumnavigation hike.[12] "The most popular, best marked and longest single route ...is the 40-mile Greenstone Ridge Trail that extends down the island's backbone."[12] The trail leads to the peak of Mount Desor, at 1,394 feet (425 m), the highest point on the island and also passes though northwoods wilderness, and by inland glacial lakes, swamps, bogs and scenic shorelines.


    A backpackers experience

    http://www.blackcoffeeatsunrise.com/...day-seven.html


    More images.

    http://astheyare.net/2011/09/02/isle...on-the-island/


    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Halfway down this page is the Minong mine ... with photos.

    http://continuouswave.com/sail-logs/irnp2010/


    Suzys Cave you tube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=189RAOYY2_I
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 09-28-2013 at 05:54.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

  4. #4

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    Stop by isleroyaleforums.com We aren,t very active this time of year as hiking season is over on the island but ask a question and it will be answered. There are many pics of several mines in the trip reports section.

    If you were to travel to the Island via the IR Queen out of copper harbor you will pass near countless old & ancient mining sites in the Keweenaw. The keweenaw county Historical Society can be very helpful here.

  5. #5

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    Wise Old Owl, I really appreciate all of the links that are given. It took me a long and enjoyable time reading through them. I will read through them again this evening.


    Slow mind, I'll take you up on visiting the isleroyaleforums.com. I'll also see what I can find at the keweenaw county Historical Society online.

    A few years ago my daughter and I spent a few days doing some short off road hikes on the peninsula. we stayed in Houghton as our base camp

    http://www.cityofhoughton.com/

  6. #6
    Registered User 4Bears's Avatar
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    I have hiked the Isle, I'm not sure what you are looking for as far as the mines are concerned, most are nothing more than shallow depressions. The Minong Mine is a "conventional" mine in the sense of a tunnel. Not sure how far back you could go due to water though. You can get a lot of info from the above referenced Isle Royale Forums, plenty of journals to read. It is a great place to hike and plenty of wildlife can be seen, moose, wolves, beaver, fox, eagles and osprey, just to name some. I found the folks who run the "Queen" most helpful for transportation to the north end and the "Voyager" for the south end, was never interested in taking the "Ranger" by the NPS as you will lose a whole day just getting there. In box me if I can help further.
    "You have brains in your head/You have feet in your shoes/You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

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    I hiked it last year. The copper mines are basically hole in the ground about 20-25 feet deep. The sides are fairly steep. some of the wolves on the island fell in them and starved out last winter. Isle Royal is a great place to hike.
    If you find yourself in a fair fight; your tactics suck.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the info and offers for additional info. I'll have questions in the coming months as I prepare for the journey.

    The mines that were made by the ancient inhabitants of North America, 7 thousand years ago, the shallow ones, are the ones that I'm interested in. They used stone mauls as tools to extract small amounts at a time. Used fire to weaken the rock so they could bust it apart to get deeper into the strata. I want to put myself into an area off trail where there are some mines to kinda take myself off onto a commune with the ancients and nature, away from the hustle bustle of the norm. Just kinda day dream of what it was like way back when a days work was difficult.

    Are the trails wide or are they kinda narrow with evergreen trees close to your shoulders? I envision the Isle densely overgrown with trees.

    I'm still trying to locate some of my photos of some large copper nodules that were found on the peninsula. I'll post as soon as I find them.

    Thanks again for your comments and insight.

  9. #9
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    The trails you'll find on Isle Royale will be extremely varied and conditions, obviously will depend on when you are hiking the island.

    I like the open rock ridges where the trail is marked only by carins- spectacular views. My wife prefers the long boardwalks through the bogs- fewer roots on which to stub a toe and more likely to spy a moose.

    I've hiked in spring and the trails were wider/clearer but then you are contending with mosquitoes or much worse- The Black Flies (I hate black flies). Late Summer into Fall - foliage crowds the trails at knee to hip height through the woods but I never felt crowded by the trees. Late summer is most rewarding as the black flies are less an issue and blue berries and thimble berries can be harvested by the handsful as you hike. I have filled a 1 liter Smartwater bottle w/blueberries in less than 1/2hour (delightful w/breakfast). Thimbleberries- I eat 'em as fast as I can pick 'em.

    With a canoe and a bit of skill, fish are plentiful in the lakes - so I'm told. I've never had much luck from shore.

    I found the copper mines less impressive than I anticipated however, the entire Isle Royale National Park is an inspiring place and will accomodate communing with the ancients and nature alike.

    Goog luck- enjoy planning your trip.

  10. #10

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    Regarding the mines(I explored three different ones), they are as 4Bears and Sheepdog says, mostly open hole surface mines although a couple do have shafts and one had a tunnel, all caved in or with water in them though. Easy places to get a nasty gash with the steel mining debris at some sites.

    There was a book I picked up somewhere with one lengthy chapter on mining on Isle Royale NP with the various mining sites described, current diagrams of the sites, locations, what to be aware of, etc. Zelph, IRNP is a GREAT place to commune with nature. If you want to expand your experiences there strongly consider renting or bringing along a kayak/canoe for the interior lakes on the island and for paddling around the circumference of the island. It brings a much broader naturalistic experience to one's visit here. The various ferries will pick up/let off at a few spots around the island including portaging a kayak/canoe for you both around the island and to/from the mainland. Get a fishing license and bring your fishing poles as well and the connect with nature is that much more rewarding. Highly recommend you mix up your trip there by hiking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, exploring the mines, etc. As is typical, the further you get away from where the people tend to congregate, in this case the ferry ports, the more naturalistic and largely uncrowded the settings. Don't forget to mix up campsites between the ridges, interior lake shores, and coastlines. Some of the coastline camping sites have small screen enclosed roofed shelters perfect for setting up a base camp in which to do day hikes exploring some of the mines while doing some late afternoon kayaking, fishing, and catching brilliant sunsets.

    IRNP is a GEM! My advice is don't just hike it though! Get out on the water on the interior lakes and around the island on Lake Superior. The trails are well marked and obvious.

  11. #11

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    BTW, Zelph, that area of the U.P. is rife with copper mining so if you are in the area there are museums, etc that explain the mostly bygone copper mining industry in the U.P. I saw some close to 5 lb copper nuggets at one museum.

  12. #12

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    Sent you a PM Zelf, I'd be happy to help ensure your trip is a good one!

  13. #13
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    R U a rock hound? looking for associated minerals? I found a cool spot in Penn that had these blue rocks. Not in a NP or SP or Gamelands or anything like that but just off the trail close enough to see something blue.rocks and Lilly 032.jpg

  14. #14

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    You guys are making me wanna get to planning real quick :-)

    I wanna get on the water and fish, collect rocks, go in the mines, listen to the wolves, watch the sunsets, sit by a campfire and waith for the perch to get cooked for lunch and dinner. I can eat fish 3 times a day :-))) and have fresh picked berries for desert. I'll plan to go later in the season to miss the black flies and skeeters.

    "slow mind" thanks for the offer and I will surely keep you in mind. I'll be asking questions. The first photo that I viewed in your album looks as if a stone maul was one of the stones used in your fire ring. It sure looks like it has a pecked ring around the center for attaching a wood handle. The big dark one in the foreground by the thumb of you glove.



    1234, I am a rock hound. I have not cut and polished for a long time though. Those are some cool looking cabs you got there. Have you identified the rock and got some photos of it in its natural state? My daughter found this copper nugget/nodule on the Keeweenau peninsula, weighs 18.7 ounces, small but heavy.





    My reading tells me an ancient mine can be identified by the entrance having rounded edges of the opening due to the use of stone mauls as compared to straight edges/walls caused by the use of dynamite.

    I'm still trying to locate my album of photos taken on the peninsula. They may be on my laptop.

    Thank you all for your valued input
    Last edited by zelph; 10-02-2013 at 22:56.

  15. #15
    Registered User 4Bears's Avatar
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    Zelph I have always enjoyed going to the Isle in the 3rd week of August fewer people and almost no skeeters, warm days and cool nights and with clear skies the stars are incredible!!
    "You have brains in your head/You have feet in your shoes/You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Bears View Post
    Zelph I have always enjoyed going to the Isle in the 3rd week of August fewer people and almost no skeeters, warm days and cool nights and with clear skies the stars are incredible!!
    I'll plan to be there no earlier, I had my share of noseums and black flies(are they the same?) when I fished Ontario and Manitoba. I don't prefer to hike with a head net :-)

    I found some photos of my trip to the peninsula:

    taken at the university museum


    owner of mine found this on mine property, not for sale, pice had been pounced into this shape, work in process no doubt.


    Natural copper form inside mine.


    view out our motel room window(base camp)


    Lamp used in mines. They were place in crevices along the shaft or in places where certain functions were performed.


    I have more photos yet to be found. I'll keep looking.
    Last edited by zelph; 10-03-2013 at 18:22.

  17. #17

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    TY for all the info

  18. #18

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    I'm Planning an IR trip in the late spring of 2014.. which of the mines is the best to see?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    ... noseums and black flies(are they the same?) ...
    Noseums, even mosquitoes are a very minor nusiance compared to Black Flies. Black Flies bite painfully, draw blood and are apparently immune to the effects of DEET or permethrin. When they feed it seems like your stuck in a horror movie but it is real. OK, maybe a bit dramatic but I HATE Black Flies.


    Below is from MN DNR web site.

    Black Flies

    Black flies are in the family Simuliidae. The black fly is tiny, less than 1/4-inch long, with a dark body, humped thorax, and short head, antennae, and legs. Like mosquitoes, both male and female black flies get nutrition from plant nectar. Males are content with that food, but females use their cutting mouthparts to take blood from animals.
    Life cycle

    Adult black flies are often found near the fast-flowing waters where they lay their eggs. Larvae look like dark worms. They attach to stones and logs underwater and feed on tiny organic particles, which they filter from the stream using fanlike structures. Pupae also live underwater. When adults emerge in spring, they float to the surface, mate, and begin feeding.
    When does it bite?

    Because ice melts from moving waters before it melts from ponds and lakes, black flies emerge and bite earlier than other insects. The swarms begin feeding in late May. Fortunately, black flies produce only one generation each year. Their numbers peak in June.
    How does it bite?

    Using four slashing teeth, the female fly cuts a shallow well in the victim’s skin. As blood seeps into the wound, the female laps it up. Her saliva contains chemicals to partially numb the nerves and an anticoagulant to keep the blood from clotting. These chemicals cause the skin around the bite to swell and itch.
    The female uses temperature-sensitive cells in the tip of her antennae to help find victims. She also uses sight, and seems to be attracted to the color blue, such as a blue jacket, shirt, or jeans.
    Because flies follow each other in swarms, we are likely to get several bites at a time. Unlike mosquitoes, black flies feed exclusively during the day; their feeding frenzies end after dark.

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    Keep in mind bushwhacking on isle royale is not for the faint of heart. There are few places on earth where going off trail is less fun.

    Also keep in mind disturbing any of the native american sites is a big no no.

    Isle royal however is still one of my favorite places on earth, black flies and all.
    Last edited by bfayer; 10-20-2013 at 14:51.

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